Aerojet has delivered the 50th Solid Rocket Booster to United Launch Alliance in support of the Atlas V launch vehicle.
Aerojet is a GenCorp company.
The 50th-delivered SRB, along with two additional boosters, is scheduled to help launch a future mission in 2013. Aerojet won the Atlas V SRB contract in 1999 and delivered its first successful flight for the July 2003 launch of Rainbow 1, a commercial communications satellite.
“To date, 41 Aerojet boosters have flown on 15 Atlas missions, helping power planetary exploration and orbital placement missions,” said Pete Cova, executive director, Space and Launch Systems. “Our team of engineers and production personnel has provided the commitment and technical expertise to design, build and fly a truly state-of-the-art SRB, while driving 100 percent mission success.”
Aerojet SRBs are an integral part of the Atlas V launch vehicle fleet. Depending on payload weight and mission requirements, the Atlas V can receive supplemental launch thrust from up to five Aerojet SRBs attached to the common core booster.
The design of the Aerojet SRB boasts a set of unique metal attachment fixtures that bolt directly to the Atlas V. Each 67-foot long, 5-foot wide composite motor case contains more than 90,000 pounds of propellant providing more than 375,000 pounds of liftoff thrust. In the maximum 551 configuration, the SRBs increase the launch thrust of ULA’s Atlas V rocket by more than 1.9 million pounds. This 551 configuration successfully launched the U.S. Navy’s Mobile User Objective System (MUOS-1) earlier this year.
“Due to the unique, relatively simple nature of the vehicle configuration options and wide range of launch capabilities, the Atlas V has proven to be an effective, affordable launch system,” said Aerojet’s Brad Bates, Atlas V SRB program director. “Aerojet is committed to producing reliable and affordable SRBs for the vehicle as it continues to perform for the future.”
The next scheduled Atlas V launch is the AEHF-2 mission scheduled in early May. The launch vehicle will rely on three Aerojet SRBs to provide an additional 1.1 million pounds of thrust at liftoff.